West Seattle, Washington
Eleven months ago, Seattle Police announced they were looking for a missing 62-year-old from West Seattle, Richard Arneson.
The search is over. DNA testing has determined that Mr. Arneson is the man whose remains were found last May along the Columbia River in Wahkiakum County, according to this report today in the Chinook Observer.
How he got there – and how he died – remain mysteries, and the Observer report says SPD is still investigating. Just last week, months after the remains were found near Pillar Rock (map), Wahkiakum County’s Coroner/Prosecutor Dan Bigelow had gone public with a sketch and some information about more of what was found with them.
Then came the DNA match, with the help of samples provided by Mr. Arneson’s family, the Observer reports. We’ll be checking with SPD to see if they have anything more to add.
Continuing our look at events announced in West Seattle for Inauguration Week – we’ve also heard from the new Community General Store in Delridge, which has announced a “Positive Politics Potluck” for 6-9 pm Friday (January 20th):
Need somewhere positive and family-friendly to go next Friday evening? We understand. Please join us in the first of our monthly gatherings to share food and visions for a more beautiful world.
Diverse political perspectives are welcome; our common ground is an understanding that our strength as a community comes out of our diversity. Our conversation is not meant to uncover the way forward or convince anyone of our individual perspective. Rather, together we aim to illuminate the many possible ways forward, and strengthen and improve each path by sharing authentically and listening well.
We’ll meet on the third Friday of each month, so mark your calendars. Fun for little ones, conversation and support for grown ups, food for all!
**First-time visits to the CGS are free. Membership purchase available at the door. RSVP here!
The CGS is at 5214 Delridge Way SW, next to The Daily Dose.
We have been receiving, and adding to the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, announcements of events for this upcoming Presidential Inauguration week – events of contemplation, collaboration, commiseration. (We’ve also been asked about West Seattle contingents going to some of the citywide events – in particular, next Saturday’s Women’s March downtown.) So starting right now, we’re publishing home-page notes about some of what’s happening, and inviting you to send us any announcement(s) that you haven’t sent yet (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We start with the labyrinth that will be open to all at Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor), Wednesday through Saturday. The announcement:
The Presidential Inauguration ceremony is on Friday, January 20th and there are many in and around our community who are concerned and upset about the political climate in the U.S.
Tibbetts is blessed to have a Labyrinth, which will be available for contemplative walking beginning Wednesday, January 18th, for those who wish to meditate, pray, or simply find peace. Labyrinths have been in use for over 4,000 years and the basic design is fundamental to nature and many cultures, religious and non-religious traditions. Walking the labyrinth can clear the mind, give insight, and soothe your heart. The simplistic symmetry is made even more meaningful when accompanied by music.
We extend an invitation to all in the community, especially those who are struggling to find a means to gain clarity, find peace, pray, or meditate about what changes there will be in the U.S. in the coming years.
The Tibbetts Labyrinth will be set up in the gathering hall (NE corner of 41st & Andover) from Wednesday 1/18 through Saturday 1/21, hours listed below. The Labyrinth is made of heavy canvas and we ask that walkers remove shoes before starting. We will have hand-held labyrinths available for those who are mobility challenged and music will play softly in the background.
Tibbetts welcomes ALL to come walk the labyrinth during one of the open times below:
* Wednesday and Thursday from 9 am to 2 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm (Jan 18 & 19)
* Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm (Jan 20)
* Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm (Jan 21)
Tibbetts is at 3940 41st SW.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We’re carefully watching the sort of direction that the new administration is going to take.”
That could be said by many. But for some agencies and organizations in our area, it’s not just a general sense of wariness as the Trump Administration heads for the White House in three weeks – it’s the need to be ready for what seem certain to be major changes.
The declaration was from Steve Daschle, executive director of North Delridge-headquartered Southwest Youth and Family Services. We talked to him recently as we began a process of finding out how local nonprofits – especially those who work with vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees – are getting ready.
“Our biggest fear is that the Trump Administration and his selection for Health and Human Services Secretary have made it very clear that their Job 1 is to dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” Daschle said.
A few minutes before 4 pm, we stopped by the Alki Masonic Center in The Junction to photograph the volunteers who had just spent four hours making West Seattle holiday history – serving a free sit-down dinner to anyone who needed one. The lodge and The Christmas People co-sponsored the first-ever event, feeding almost 100 people who showed up over the course of the afternoon. They also wanted to say thanks to community members who volunteered time to help prepare, and who donated dozens and dozens of homemade cookies! The Christmas People, led by Rev. Fred Hutchinson and Ruth Bishop, have been feeding others in need, but usually in smaller groups, he told us – this was the first time they decided to offer a big sit-down dinner, and they’ll do it again next year, getting the word out far and wide to fill the hall.
A heartwarming story – told in verse – from the WSB inbox this Christmas Eve:
A true Christmas story for everyone to enjoy:
Twas the night before Christmas, with no food in the house, so off to get groceries, for me and my spouse.
Bacon, eggs, bread, wine and rice, fruit and ice cream, checked off my list twice.
Away to the checkstand, I flew like a flash, to purchase my goods with not enough cash.
But what to my wondering eyes should I see? A guy with just greeting cards, that I let cut in front of me.
He replied with a thankful “no way really?”
And which I exclaimed, with an “of course, don’t be silly!”
To the cashier, he muttered something unclear, that was meant for just him and her ears to hear.
“Merry Christmas” he said as he left out the door! What a friendly man, I thought! A nice smile and more!
Now it’s my turn in line, to purchase my stuff. Hoping to God but doubting that I had enough.
With a look of weary, yet hopefulness in my heart, the lady exclaimed, “He gave me enough to cover your whole cart!”
I replied “Shut the Front Door!” and other words to not include. “Oh my God! Seriously? What a cool dude!!”
Tears began to fall down my excited cheeks in a flurry, leaving the store with vision so blurry.
This kind, generous stranger, out of nowhere came here, and left us all with a great feeling of Christmas cheer!
The moral of my story, my fellow West Seattleites, is to Pay It Forward, Merry Christmas and to Have a Great Night!!!
-Thank you kind and giving stranger at the Roxbury Safeway tonight!!! You have no idea how much you brightened our holiday and spirits! You are amazing, and the true definition of what this time of year should be all about! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
–Bradi and Tim Jones
The photo and report are from Karen Chilcutt:
Today, December 15th, is Bill of Rights Day!! Members of the West Seattle Democratic Women are distributing copies of the Bill of Rights, bumper stickers, and buttons provided by the American Civil Liberties Union at both the White Center Food Bank and Samway Market in White Center. WSDW wants everyone to know that materials are also available at Cupcake Royale in the West Seattle Junction.
Rachel Glass, WSDW’s Vice Chair, said: “Given the concerns, confusion and fear expressed by many Americans as a result of the change in political climate, WSDW thought it especially important that people be aware of their rights.”
Other participating members of West Seattle Democratic Woman braving the freezing weather in support of this cause were Elizabeth Heath, Lynne Ingalls, Flora Belle Key, Theresa McCormick and Mike Wald. Peggy Abby, WSDW member and local artist crafted the signs used.
A beautiful sight in a West Seattle backyard brought holiday cheer to “Awesome Avery” Berg and her family. We have reported before – here and here – on Avery, who was diagnosed with brain cancer just as she prepared to start middle school this fall. The photo and update are from friend Kelly Malloy:
She begins her second round of chemo today – and the community surprised the family on Tuesday by showing up in their back yard with candles and holiday songs to sing. Her dear friends Liza and Rachel coordinated this and it was AWESOME. (like Awesome Avery)
Caroling at Avery’s and seeing (at least) 50 people in her back yard was mind blowing, inspiring, brilliant, sweet, and just another reflection of the fabulous community of West Seattle.
Avery’s mom Kristie has continued to post updates from time to time here.
Meet Virginia Carmichael, who turned 100 today! We photographed her early this week, to accompany this tribute from her family:
Virginia has resided in Seattle since 2004. That year she moved from the Northern California foothill town of Paradise.
Virginia’s family will honor her tomorrow at the West Seattle home of her eldest daughter, Susan Madrid. She celebrated at The Kenney with her fellow residents at the monthly group birthday gathering this past Monday.
Virginia’s immediate family includes a second daughter, Alice Turner from Chico, California, and two grandchildren, Leslie Harlow (Greg) from Renton and Richard Stichler (Diane) from Ringgold, Georgia. Her great-grandchildren are teenagers Anna and Sarah Harlow and young adults Evan and Jarrett Stichler.
Virginia was born near Auburn in south King County in 1916. Her maternal/paternal extended families lived and worked in the Tacoma area.
When she was 3, her immediate family moved to California, eventually settling in Stockton, where she attended school and lived until she and her husband, James Carmichael, whom she married in 1939, retired in the mid 1970s. James died in 2002.
Virginia owned a knit shop in Stockton. She is accomplished in all forms of needlework and sewing, using these skills to be successful in her business. She still knits baby sweaters and afghans that are donated to WestSide Baby. Her guilty pleasures are watching “Curious George” on PBS and Rocky Road ice cream.
That tree on the water side of the Alki Bathhouse isn’t a Christmas tree but rather a memorial tree. Relatives and friends of Joel Eggert (photo at right), the 46-year-old West Seattleite who died after his motorcycle crashed in Highland Park early Sunday, e-mailed to tell us about it. It’s there with Parks Department permission, and, according to Tonia, “People are encouraged to place notes and mementoes to remember Joel.” Stephanie says, “Tomorrow night at 3:30 pm there will be a sunset gathering for him and moment of silence.” And Mr. Eggert’s sister Stacey e-mailed to share the news of the crowdfunding account for his children. She says Mr. Eggert’s last wish is being fulfilled – donating his organs to save others. Plans for an official memorial event are in the works, we’ve also learned, and we’re expecting an update on that soon.
Just received this announcement from Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
Seattle Community Immigration Resource Fair
Saturday, December 10, 10 am to 1 pm
At Denny International Middle School
The City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, Chief Sealth IHS and Denny IMS, along with several community partners, are hosting a Community Resource Fair on Immigration. You are invited to learn about Immigration policies, knowing your rights, safety, how to support your children at school and at home, and a parental toolkit.
Denny is at 2601 SW Kenyon.
Thanks to Lynda Sullivan for the photo and report:
I wanted to get a shoutout to some local girls (their families and a few friends) that volunteered their afternoon at Northwest Harvest in Kent. Several of the girls are the McCaffrey Bobcats and play in the West Seattle Soccer Club together. They bagged, tied, packed and boxed up over 4,500 pounds of rice over the course of the afternoon. The rice is donated by companies in bulk and needs to be sorted for distribution to local food banks in Washington State. They all had a blast and everyone was eager to know when they could come back and volunteer again.
For anyone that is interested, Northwest Harvest in Kent welcomes volunteer groups of any size. The age requirement is 9 years old (or in the 3rd grade), must be accompanied by a parent/guardian if under the age of 16. For volunteer information contact Jennifer Chew at 206-923-7453 or JenniferC@northwestharvest.org.
As noted in the newest comments following WSB coverage of the Admiral District crash that sent a woman to the hospital Tuesday night, an online fundraiser is now set up for her. Via this GoFundMe page, organizers identify the victim as Britt Russell. She is an employee at Mission Cantina, and was headed to work when hit by a driver at/near California/Walker. According to the fundraising page, she suffered numerous serious injuries but has been “stabilized.” The fundraiser is meant to help with an expected long path to recovery:
Britt is strong. While being such a kind and loving person she also has a fighting spirit. She will eventually recover but we know she will be in the hospital or in rehab for most of the next year. We are looking to support Britt and her family’s medical expenses outside of insurance as well as travel for her family living outside of the country. Her entire immediate and extended family live in Australia and airfare is quite costly. We know how important having family close by is to the healing process.
Meantime, we are still following up with Seattle Police regarding the investigation; no new information is available so far.
One month after two West Seattleites announced a donation drive for the Water Protectors led by the Standing Rock Sioux, Giles Stanton and Cathy Morgan are back from their Thanksgiving-week run to North Dakota, and just sent a wrapup report and photos:
The two days and nights we were at the Oceti Sakowin Camp (connected to both Rosebud and Sacred Stone Camps) saw their first snowfall of the season — it was numbingly cold though nothing compared with the weather yet to come. But, thanks to all of you, they now have a better chance at comfortably enduring the coming prairie winter. Giles helped construct an expansion to their main Donation / Supply Tent and Cathy applied her newfound donation-sorting skills to the profusion of items pouring in daily.
The packed cargo van of West Seattle donations was gratefully swallowed up into the organized ocean of useful winter goods and flowed right back out into the hands of long-term supporters fortifying themselves against the cold.
The Go Fund Me campaign has already been very successful — thank you! Once we have the cargo van’s gas totals collected and reimbursed, we’ll send all the unspent dollars back to the camp to buy whatever they need by then.
The trip, and this entire experience, has been immensely powerful and eye-opening. A truly international network is engaged in alliance at Standing Rock; the sign post and a tour of license plates and handmade banners reveals the scope of the community on the ground. We are humbled by your generosity and inspired by the unflagging energy and commitment on active display all over the camp.
Cathy & Giles
A little more than three weeks after we first published the announcement of a West Seattle donation drive for the Standing Rock Sioux-led pipeline-route-protest camp, the results are about to head eastbound to North Dakota. We checked in as they loaded up around sunset. Here’s the final official update:
Thanks to all of West Seattle who helped fill a large cargo van of warm clothing and winter gear for the Water Protectors encamped on the very cold prairie in North Dakota. We are leaving to deliver all of this stuff and will report back as we can from the road. Great to be part of this community.
Cathy and Giles
The van they’re driving belongs to Harold, who they met via the response to the reports we published. Here’s the final inventory (PDF) of what they’ve received and are taking.
They’ve also received some donations to cover expenses via this GoFundMe page (which also includes a more-comprehensive explanation of what they’re doing).
From left in the photo (taken at Talarico’s) are Ryan, Ty, Phuong, and Vitaly. Ty sent the photo and report about a gathering of what he described as the “Junction Logistics Network“:
9 times out of 10, if you live/work in the Junction you’ve received a package from one of these guys.
In preparation of the holiday season, we wanted to get together and “break bread.” We discussed multiple topics ranging from safety and wellness to traffic concerns and our ever-expanding community we serve. Whether you work for USPS, UPS, FEDEX, or OnTrac, at the end of the day we all have one goal in mind. And that is to do our job to the best of our ability and to also come home to our loved ones safely.
“I see these guys all week long and we might have ten seconds to say Hi, Bye, look out for this..complain about the weather, etc. I knew they were great and exceptional workers, but I wanted to know ‘why’ they were.”- Ty
P.S. One arrived early, one was on time. One a little late and one got lost “en route.”
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
3:24 PM: Late last night, we reported on a medical emergency that left a RapidRide C Line bus stalled on the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct and sent its driver to the hospital. As promised, we followed up with Metro this morning. The driver, they just told us, did not make it. Here’s the full news release that resulted from our inquiry:
A Metro Transit operator suffered a fatal heart attack late Thursday while driving a RapidRide C Line on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, just south of Columbia Street. Passengers on board were able to help bring the bus to a safe stop and call 9-1-1. No passengers were injured.
The incident was reported about 11:17 p.m. The driver, Sam Williams, 63, was traveling south when he said he was experiencing a heart attack and became semiconscious. Passengers noticed the bus swerving at slow speeds and quickly rushed to Williams’ aid. One passenger was able to help bring the bus to a stop in the outside lane – about six inches from the viaduct’s guardrail. Other passengers helped unbuckle the driver and remove him from his seat, and began performing CPR. A retired Auburn police officer who was driving behind the bus stopped his vehicle and helped provide aid until first responders arrived.
Williams was pronounced deceased after being transported to Harborview Medical Center.
“Those who ride Metro Transit know there is a sense of community on the bus, between passengers and drivers,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “When an incident occurs, people step up to help one another. The passengers on Sam Williams’ route exemplify the best of who we are as a region.”
“Our drivers care deeply about their passengers’ safety and comfort. We are grateful to the passengers who rushed to help Sam as soon as it was clear that he needed medical help. Sam will be missed by his friends, family, coworkers, and those who rode on his bus each day.”
“Many of us are grieving today over the loss of Sam Williams, a dedicated Metro operator for the last six years,” said Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “I thank the passengers whose quick action to safely stop the bus prevented this from becoming an even greater tragedy.”
Williams started as a part-time operator in 2010. He achieved full-time status in 2014.
4:32 PM: We’ve learned more about Mr. Williams thanks to commenter Kelly, who informs us he was a juggler with the famous Flying Karamazov Brothers troupe. We’ve been researching his background and among other things found this podcast interview published earlier this month.
9:50 PM: Photo of Mr. Williams added above (courtesy John Cornicello). There are more tributes to him in the comments below, as well as a link to this video of a memorable TV appearance one commenter mentioned – Mr. Williams and the other Flying Karamazov Brothers teaching “Mister Rogers” how to juggle. On the group’s Facebook page, this tribute:
We are heartbroken to tell you that Sam Williams, aka Smerdyakov Karamazov, has gone on and joined the choir invisible. It was never publicly admitted, but we can all admit that he’s always been the funniest K, and his passing leaves a major hole in the world. Today is a very sad day. RIP.
Give someone a hug and tell them you love them.
We photographed Giles and Cathy in the storage area that Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation is letting them borrow for the donations they’ll be taking to the Standing Rock Sioux-led oil-pipeline-route-protest camp later this month. We stopped by yesterday, during the second of three Saturday dropoff events there; one more is coming up, next Saturday (November 19th), 8 am-noon (7141 California SW). If you’re just hearing about this now, here’s their original announcement; here’s last weekend’s update. Now – the update they sent this morning:
Another big thank you to West Seattle. We now have more stuff than will fit in our cargo van. And we have one more week of donations!
We now need folks who are going to Standing Rock to help transport the donations before the winter weather truly sets in. If you can help, let us know so that we can coordinate with you.
Or, we can still take monetary donations.
Cathy Morgan and Giles Stanton
They also provided this inventory of what’s been donated so far (PDF).
“Nice chatting with you, neighbor.” That friendly goodbye, said as one participant left the “peace gathering” at Myrtle Reservoir Park tonight, summarized what it was all about – neighbors gathering with neighbors. We stopped by around 45 minutes into it, and at least 50 people were there.
It was informal – candlelight, pizza, children running around and playing. And a lot of talk. One person told another that she was worried some ongoing issues won’t be resolved in her lifetime. And certainly, nothing was going to be resolved in one night. But Mary Ellen Cunningham told us she had the idea for the gathering, while having trouble sleeping last night.
Sarah, who sent us first word of the gathering this afternoon, tells us tonight, “Thanks to all who came out to the peace gathering tonight – I know many were encouraged simply by your presence.” She adds that a mailing list is being set up “regarding further gatherings and ways to come together as a community,” so if you’re interested, please e-mail email@example.com to be included.
Also from the WSB inbox this afternoon:
Thought we needed a little positivity today. I collected some donations from my coworkers at Circa to take to a tent community down on E. Marginal Way.
Blankets, socks, clothes, towels, food, coats and toiletries. 💛💛💛 Taking them down now … with my husband and 9 year-old.
2:10 PM: Just out of the WSB inbox from Sarah, who describes this as a “peace gathering”:
Join us tonight at 5 pm at Reservoir Park on 35th & Myrtle for a time of being together as a community. This isn’t about joining to stand against our new president or the people who voted for him. It’s about joining together to stand FOR love, FOR justice, FOR equality, and to give a space for those who are grieving and afraid.
Bring warm jackets, picnic dinner, candles, games or instruments. We look forward to seeing you there.
3:02 PM: Sarah adds that this is a family-friendly gathering
5:42 PM: We are stopping by the event right now. Several dozen people of all ages are here, on the north side of the park by the play area.
The Seahawks are on Monday Night Football this week, and on Monday morning, a West Seattle superfan will be raising a 12th Man flag on TV:
That’s the video made with 11-year-old “Awesome Avery” Berg and her fellow students at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor). KING 5 called for nominees to raise a 12th Man Flag at their broadcast location at Stadium Place, just outside CenturyLink Field, and dozens of supporters made the case for Avery. We brought you her story back in September, as she started middle school shortly after being diagnosed with a rare brain cancer called AT/RT. Barbara Travers told us this afternoon about Avery’s upcoming flag-raising – she will be interviewed between 8:30 and 9 am on KING’s morning news, and then will raise their 12th Man flag at the end of the broadcast.
P.S. Avery’s mom has continued to post updates online; most recently, Avery finished radiation treatments, and will soon be undergoing chemotherapy.